LIFE BEFORE THE DEBT !
In view of the decision by the governments of Brazil and Argentina to repay all of the debt claimed of them by the International Monetary Fund, the organizations and campaigns of Jubilee South in these two countries make the following declaration :
1- We denounce that while our governments’ are quick to comply with the claims made by the IMF, they continue to postpone repayment of the large historical, social and ecological debt that is owed to our peoples, to the thousands of farmers who anxiously await the so frequently mentioned agrarian reform, to the original peoples expelled from their lands, to the boys and girls who die every day from hunger in the two countries that are the largest food producers of Latin America, to the workers who suffer the instability of their jobs and their salaries, to the millions of Argentines and Brazilians who subsist in poverty. When will this enormous debt with our peoples be paid off ? WhileArgentina repays, in one fell swoop, the 9.8 billion dollars claimed by the IMF, thousands of savers, mostly pensioners, are still suffering the banking restrictions imposed in December, 2001, with no access to their life savings. While in Brazil 15.5 billion dollars are made available to pay the Fund, the policies of structural adjustment and budget cuts for essential social expenditures and investments continue unabated.
2- We reject the fact that our countries used their important capacity to coordinate policy and actions in order to repay debts that are illegitimate, immoral, and odious, and which furthermore have already been repaid, and that in so doing, they have also contributed to the deepening of the impunity enjoyed by the organism against which these same governments, echoing the demands of their peoples, have leveled well-founded critiques of its co-responsibility in the crises that developed in our countries. In Argentina, the Fund granted loans in the midst of the crisis, violating its own Charter ; it first lent to made possible the enormous capital flight occurred in 2001, and later to compensate the banks involved. Since that terrible December 19th, 2001, in the midst of the most severe social crisis in our history, the IMF has been paid more than 8.3 billion dollars net. Together, our two countries had considerable strength in order to question the debt repayment claimed by the Fund, instead of treating it as the most privileged among all supposed creditors, be they external or internal. Instead, this decision rewards the IMF, setting it free of guilt and responsibility, while at the same time it deepens the non-compliance by our governments of their obligations towards the millions of fellow citizens who suffer the everyday violation of their economic and social rights through impoverishment and indigence.
3- We wish to alert to the fact that it is the International Monetary Fund itself that is propitiating this policy of de-indebtedness which, on the other hand, is being promoted as bringing greater autonomy and sovereignty to our countries. Since the early days of the Bush Administration, a staunch opponent of the big emergency loans that were in style at the end of the nineties and that left the Fund with an dangerously large outstanding debt portfolio sharply concentrated in just four countries, the IMF has attributed ever greater priority to recovering its solvency - and therefore its power to act - by rigorously collecting, if possible in advance, all its large outstanding debts. In mid July, 2005, the Fund itself put forward the demand to Argentina that it pay-off its debt with Central Bank reserves. In this way, the decision taken by the governments of Brazil and Argentina, complementing the debt repayment carried out by Russia at the end of 2004, contributes to closing the circle of deindebtment motorized by the IMF. The last of the big Fund debtors, Turkey, is paying punctually and is on its way to paying-off its debt as well. It is thus easy to understand why the congratulations of Rodrigo Rato, IMF Managing Director, were quick to arrive. ”We are pleased with Brazil’s decision” he said first, adding categorically that ; “the excellent track-record of policy management by the Brazilian authorities has provided the basis for the consolidation of market confidence, and Argentina should follow the example”. Two days later, Argentina did so.
4- We question the argument that our countries will gain greater freedom in the design of their economic policies, especially when those same governments continue to accumulate new debts whether on the financial markets or other official bodies such as the World Bank and the Interamerican Development Bank. The IMF’s seal of approval is still a requirement for these transactions. In addition, as long as the two countries continue their affiliation with the IMF, they will remain subject to its policies of supervision and control. It is also at least curious, that two governments that have for the last two years boasted publicly as to the independence of their decisions in the face of the conditionalities imposed by the Fund, are now highlighting as the most important consequence of their decision, the recovery of that same independence.
When should we have believed them ? Then or now ?
5- We also reject, because it is at least deceitful, the assertion that this decision implies a reduction in the level of interest payment, because our countries, at the same time they pay the IMF with a 4 to 6% annual interest rate, take loans in the international market at interest rates nearing or higher that 10% and even fluctuating rates. In fact, if the point is to save, it would be more sensible to repay the debts that bear much higher interest rates than the ones charged by the IMF. Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics, made this point quite forcefully when visiting the region a few months ago.
6- These presidential decisions affect the sovereignty and democratic processes of our countries, by acting in a unilateral and non-consultative manner, disregarding the constitutional responsibilities of our Parliaments as well as the participation and control of the citizens. In Argentina’s case, this decision again ignores the Federal Court sentence handed down in the Alejandro Olmos Lawsuit ; a ruling that substantiated the fraudulent nature of the external debt and referred it to the National Congress so that it could carry-out ifs constitutional responsibilities to manage the debt and identify and sanction those responsible for its criminal accumulation. In Brazil, the constitutional duty of Parliament to carry out a Debt Audit has been violated. Likewise, popular opinion on these issues, which has been expressed on many occasions, has been ignored. In September, 2000, a Popular Plebiscite on the External Debt was carried out in Brazil, where more than 5,700,000 Brazilians voted in favor of ending the agreement with the IMF and NOT continuing to pay the debt without a prior Audit. In Argentina, in November of 2003, the 2.300.000 persons who participated in the Popular Consultation on the FTAA, the Debt, and Militarization, also manifested themselves overwhelmingly for the NON payment of the External Debt.
7- We thus demand of both of our governments that they carry out an integral Debt Audit , together with their respective Parliaments and ample citizen participation and control, before continuing to repay what is claimed from us. The purpose of this Audit should be to determine in a transparent and well-grounded manner, who really owes who. During the recent III Summit of the Peoples in Mar del Plata, as also during the II Jubilee South Global Assembly which took place in Havana in September, thousands of participants from all over the continent reaffirmed that one of the pillars for the construction of alternatives of Life and Sovereignty is the recognitionthat we, the Peoples, are the true creditors. An integral Debt Audit, covering not only the financial debts but also the enormous social, historic, and ecological debts that are owed to the peoples of Brazil and Argentina, would clearly and forcefully demonstrate which are the debt that should be repaid urgently and with priority, including the very payments made to the International Monetary Fund with it has the obligation to reinstate and provide reparations.
8- We also call on the movements and organizations of our countries, to our fellow citizens in general, to join in these demands, stimulating popular debate and mobilization and collaborating in the investigation, denunciation and organization needed in order to build just alternatives.
YES TO LIFE, NO TO DEBT !
WE DON’T PAY, BECAUSE WE DON’T OWE !
WE ARE THE CREDITORS !
Argentina - Brazil, December 19/20, 2005
Diálogo 2000 - Argentina Red Jubileo Sur Brasil
Red Jubileo Sur Brasil-Coordinación de la Auditoría Ciudadana
Red Brasil sobre las Instituciones Financieras Multilaterales
Programa de Incidencia sobre Deuda Externa Ilegítima (Fed. Luterana Mundial)
Those who would want to endorse can do so through : firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com
FIRST ENDORSEMENT :
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Premio Nobel de la Paz - Fundación Servicio Paz y Justicia
Nora Cortiñas, Madre de Plaza de Mayo, Línea Fundadora- Argentina
Beverly Keene, Coordinadora Jubileo Sur/Américas
João Pedro Stedile, Dirigente MST/Via Campesina - Brasil
Nalu Faria, Sempreviva Organização Feminista- Brasil
Rvdo. Ángel Furlan, Iglesia Evangélica Luterana Unida
Sandra Quintela, Economista- Brasil
Rvdo. Juan Pedro Schaad, Iglesia Evangélica del Río de la Plata
María Lucia Fattorelli y Rodrigo Ávila, UNAFISCO- Brasil
Hna. María Bassa, Endepa y Confederación Argentina de Religiosos y Religiosas
Rina Bertaccini y Juan Roque, Movimiento por la Paz, la Soberanía y la Solidaridad- Argentina
Reinaldo Gonçalves - Economista Univ. Fed. Río do Janeiro - Brasil
Grito dos Excluídos Continental
Fórum Brasileiro de ONGs e Movimentos Sociais para o Meio Ambiente e esenvolvimento (FBOMS)
Julio Gambina, Presidente de Attac-Argentina
Dr. Alejandro Olmos Gaona- Argentina
José Seoane y Clara Algranati, Osal-Clacso -Argentina
Coordenação Nacional de Lutas - CONLUTAS -Brasil
Federação Democrática dos Metalúrgicos de Minas Gerais - FSDMG -Brasil
Instituto Brasileiro de Desenvolvimento (IBRADES)-
Sindicato dos trabalhadores do Judiciário Federal de São Paulo (SINTRAJUD) -Brasil
Nestor Rolando Jeifetz , MOI Movimiento de Ocupantes e Inquilinos (CTA)- Argentina
Acción por la Biodiversidad- Argentina
Nestor Rolando Jeifetz, MOI (Movimiento de Ocupantes e Inquilinos- CTA)- Argentina
Junta Directiva Nacional de CONFAR- Argentina
Emilio Taddei (CLACSO)- Argentina
Hilda Guerrero- Puerto Rico
Raúl Montijo- Puerto Rico
Wanda Colón Cortés- Puerto Rico
Marcha Mundial das Mulheres - Brasil
Marcos Arruda - Economista- Brasil
Pacs - Instituto Politicas Alternativas do Cone Sul- Brasil
Paulo Passarinho - Economista- Brasil
Sindicato dos Economistas do RJ- Brasil
Camille Chalmers - Plateforme haïtienne de Plaidoyer pour un Développement Alternatif (PAPDA)- Haiti
Secretariat : a/c Dialogo 2000, Piedras 730, (1070) Buenos Aires, Argentina
Telefax : +5411- 43071867/ 15-5612-3198